Scarlett Johansson Daily » Article


I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues.

After signing on first of all to play an Asian woman in Ghost in the Shell and secondly to play a transgender man in Rub & Tug to much controversy, it seems like Scarlett Johansson finally understands why people have an issue with her casting. After a defensive first statement about her Rub & Tug role, the actress has just announced that she would be giving up the role of Dante ‘Tex’ Gill and said she has ‘learned a lot from the [LGBTQ+] community’.

She said in a lengthy statement to, ‘In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill, I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project. Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realise it was insensitive. I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues.

The Avengers: Infinity War actress was slated to play transgender man Dante ‘Tex’ Gill, an individual who ran a brothel posing as a massage parlour in 1970s/80s Pittsburgh. The film Rub & Tug is set to be directed by Ghost in the Shell’s Rupert Sanders (which explains a lot) and as the news is still fresh, there’s no word yet on who will be sliding into Dante’s costume.

Scarlett continued, ‘While I would have loved the opportunity to bring Dante’s story and transition to life, I understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender person, and I am thankful that this casting debate, albeit controversial, has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film.

This lengthier statement seems to have finally struck the right chord, as we’re not going to lie – her first statement was pretty shocking. When first pressed on her Rub & Tug casting announcement by journalists, she said in a pointed and defensive statement, ‘Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.

Jared Leto and Felicity Huffman both played trans characters in their respective films Dallas Buyers’ Club and Transamerica, while Jeffrey Tambor played transwoman Maura Pfefferman in Transparent. All three cisgendered actors saw great critical acclaim for their performances, with Leto winning an Oscar for best supporting actor, Huffman a Golden Globe for best actress in a motion picture and Tambor a Golden Globe for best performance by an actor in a comedy or musical television series. (Jeffrey Tambor has since left Transparent in the wake of sexual harassment allegations.)

Here’s hoping that Rub & Tug does the right thing and puts out a casting call for actors from the trans community, who rarely have the chance to tell their own stories onscreen in Hollywood.




Actress Scarlett Johansson is in hot water once again for her recent choice to play massage parlor owner Dante “Tex” Gill in the upcoming mob drama Rub & Tug. The real-life Gill was born as Lois Jean Gill, but identified as a man — which is a detail in the role that has sparked backlash.

April Reign, who is known for the #OscarsSoWhite campaign, tweeted about the news: “Scarlett Johansson received considerable backlash for Ghost in the Shell, when she played a whitewashed Asian character. The movie tanked. Undeterred, she has teamed up WITH THE SAME DIRECTOR to play a trans male character in Rub & Tug.”

Reign’s tweet also includes a statement from Johansson via her representative that was featured on Bustle which addressed the backlash — in her own special way. She said: “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.

Deadline broke the news that Johansson would be re-teaming with director Rupert Sanders for Rub & Tug. The two previously worked together on the adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, another movie which was the center of controversy as many saw Johansson’s role as the film’s version of the film’s lead Major Motoko Kusanagi as a form of whitewashing of a character that is seen as Asian. In the case of Rub & Tug, she is being called out for “transface” as one person on Twitter commented. Another said this is a case of “ciswashing.”

People are not being shy about calling out Johansson for playing a trans man since this can be considered her second offense when it comes to appropriating — in this case its not cultural, it’s gender identity.




As Vanity Fair’s Maureen Orth reported in 2012, the Church of Scientology put several actresses through an “audition process,” in which they were tried out as potential girlfriends for Tom Cruise. Nazanin Boniadi was one of them, and, as Orth reported, she was allegedly coerced into breaking up with her boyfriend and enter a highly monitored relationship with Cruise—who, months later, moved on with Katie Holmes.

Scarlett Johansson, however, was not ever an actress put through this process—and she has strong words for anyone who suggests she was.

On Wednesday, former Scientologist Brendan Tighe appeared on Megyn Kelly Today, where he told the host that Johansson has been one of the actresses to audition to be Cruise’s girlfriend. Johansson wrote in a statement provided to Vanity Fair that she was not pleased with this claim for more than one reason.

The very idea of any person auditioning to be in a relationship is so demeaning. I refuse for anyone to spread the idea that I lack the integrity to choose my own relationships. Only a man, a.k.a. Brendan Tighe, would come up with a crazy story like that,” she wrote.

Tighe, who claims to have been a member of Cruise’s Scientology security unit, said a report that mentioned Johansson and her audition was sent to his printer by mistake. He said he also read in the document that Parenthood’s Erika Christensen, who’s spoken out about her association with Scientology, had to “disconnect from Scarlett Johansson because [the audition] didn’t go well.” In response to a request for comment, Christensen sent the following statement: “I’ve worked with Scarlett and think Scarlett is a lovely person, incredibly talented. This story made me laugh but should be set straight for its intention to create some conflict. It’s a strange feeling to be a part of a story that’s untrue. There is no conflict—I think Scarlett’s great and would love to work with her again.” .




The actress has, so far, not joined the list of A-listers distancing themselves from Woody Allen over accusations that the director molested his adopted daughter Dylan when she was seven, a quarter of a century ago.

But if that fanned a degree of criticism, she has also publicly supported Georgina Chapman, the estranged wife of producer Harvey Weinstein whose sexual transgressions, some had assumed, might spell the end of her Marchesa fashion label.

To me, it seems inhumane to hold someone accountable for their partner’s actions. It feels extremely, deeply wrong,” said Johansson, who fielded queries about the #MeToo movement even though she was giving the interview to plug her album collaboration with American singer-songwriter Pete Yorn.

Last month, she walked the talk, stepping out in a crimson Marchesa gown at the Met Gala, New York’s party of the year.

I just really wanted something that was beautiful and my idea of heavenly and romantic,” said the 33-year-old, who is best known for her roles in Lost In Translation (2003), The Avengers (2012) and three Allen films.

Her album Apart, which came out last Friday, has five indie tracks focused on the aftermath of a failed relationship.
Johansson, who laid down her vocals in just one afternoon, said music is just another way to express herself.

It’s all coming from mostly here,” she said, pointing to her gut.
Sometimes here,” she gestured to the heart.
Mostly here,” she said with a smile, back to the gut.




It is a great treat to talk to Scarlett Johansson and Pete Yorn together. What’s so refreshing about it is in this age of too many forced music partnerships and features for commercial sales sake, the two of them genuinely like each other, as evidenced by the way they talk to each other, share inside jokes, laugh often and reminisce as real friends do.

Their reasoning for reuniting to work together on the superb new EP, Apart, nine years after they teamed for their collaborative album, Break Up, is simple and pure. They missed working together. That comes across in both the music, which ranges from the fun of the opening track “Iguana Bird” to the more ethereal “Movies,” and especially the conversation.

In this joyful and engaging chat between the two close friends and musical partners they discuss parenthood, pizza, time flying by and Disney.

Steve Baltin: It’s been nine years since you did an album together. So much has changed for you both in that time. Talk about the different things you both brought to collaborating this time.

Scarlett Johansson: We’re parents now, which is I think the biggest life change that can happen for anyone. It gives you a different perspective on the passing of time. The two of us just hanging out and talking, coming from a place that’s of the life experiences we have, I think you can hopefully hear it in the sound. And it feels like, in some ways, picking up where you left off. But then there’s also a sense of there’s been a passing of time and some progression and that sort of sticky nostalgic place you can sometimes regress back into later in your life.

Pete Yorn: The whole reason we got back together, from my end, was I just missed singing with Scarlett. It felt like too much time had gone by and I felt super nostalgic for those 2006, 2007 days. And I needed to do it again and I was so happy she was game. She was definitely a baby when we did the last one and I was a little bit older than a baby. But it was quite some time ago. We both have daughters now and it changes your perspective. It’s funny though, people always ask me, “How has it changed the way you approach music or your songs?” And I always thought, “Would I write my, ‘I believe the children are the future?’” And I still write kind of moody songs, so it hasn’t really changed my writing too much.

Baltin: You may never write “The Greatest Love Of All,” but often times there are subtle things that you pick up on later. So maybe it’s influenced your writing and certainly your lifestyle in ways that aren’t overt.

Yorn: On a practical level, just having a little one makes my time more focused on different things. I’m so hands on with my little girl, I wonder before my kid what the hell did I do with all my time. I think that manifested in picking up my guitar here and there, banging out a song, and now I gotta be much more structured about it if I want to get stuff done. Scarlett can speak for her experience there, but she is even more busy than I am.

Johansson: Personally speaking, your creative time becomes more valuable. I find responsibility of having a child and balancing life as a working mother a welcome challenge. I think it somehow pares away a lot of the noise and it’s sharpened my artistic focus. So I work on projects that are meaningful to me and I feel very dedicated to having a satisfying experience and seeking out the interesting, often times ugly, unturned stones. I like to dig that stuff up because my work time is valuable. If I’m going to not be spending time focusing on being completely hands on with my daughter, which I am, then I want to make sure what I’m doing is really meaningful to me. And this project is definitely a reflection of that. It was a chance to return to something, revisit something with a new perspective. And I think that’s an unusual opportunity to do something like that. Also having a partner you’ve known for almost 15 years, it’s a rare thing.

Baltin: Do each of your kids have a favorite song off the EP?

Yorn: Mine definitely does. She pooh-pooh’s stuff, really quick, like barely even lets me pick up my guitar to play. But she always loved the first song on the record, “Iguana Bird,” right from the get go. That was definitely her favorite, but she lets me play at least through the first three songs.

Johansson: I haven’t ever played my daughter anything I’ve ever sang before (they both laugh). I’m so deep in the wonderful world Of Disney, so I should expand her musical horizons. If I’m not playing Disney songs then it’s jazz, but even the Beatles are hard for her to wrap her head around at this point.

Yorn: I’ll always test out a song on Bee to see if she likes it. And if she didn’t like it, I’d be like, “Oh no, that means it’s not good.” Then I put on like a classic Led Zeppelin song and she’s like, “No!” I’m like, “Alright, I’m not gonna take it personally.” She’s very fickle.

Baltin: Are there any plans to play live and if you do, what Disney song would you cover in honor of both of your kids?Johansson: (They both laugh) The idea of touring would be impossible. I’m used to living in a trailer that’s parked for five nights. The idea of touring in any capacity seems dreadful. But it would be super nice to do, especially now that we have two albums to sing, a select couple of shows at some point. It’s just a matter of finding the time, though I decided after this summer I’m taking a nice long, much needed break. So this could be a nice respite from that. And a Disney song we could cover the two of us? (Yorn starts singing “A Whole New World”) Not “A Whole New World,” that’d be awful, too corny.

Full interview: